This article is part of Raydiant’s Future of The Restaurant Industry series which interviews top experts on their perspective of technology and trends that are shaping the industry.
The following is an interview we had with Kelly Richardson, Founder of VENONE.
Outside of COVID, what have been the most dramatic changes you’ve seen in the industry over the past 3-5 years?
KR: Outside of the definitive changes that COVID has presented to the restaurant industry, over the past few years, I have also seen an expansion of the farm-to-table movement, and restaurants really highlighting the locally sourced ingredients that they use to create their dishes. Many restaurants, pre-covid, had really started to embrace events including live music, wine dinners, and other collaborations.
What are the top trends you see shaping the future of the restaurant industry in the next 3-5 years?
KR: The next wave of trends for the restaurant industry will be driven by COVID. You are going to see a continued dependence of customers that prefer take-out meals, but also restaurants will find alternatives to the larger companies that provide delivery services. I expect to see restaurants designed with expansive outdoor dining, as well as opening without dining rooms. Restaurants will continue to embrace small bodega type stores inside their spaces offering basic household items and ingredients, as well as “take and bake” items for customers to take home. Marketing to a hyper-local audience will continue to be at the forefront.
What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the restaurant industry in the next 3-5 years?
KR: I think we will continue to see integration of software and apps that allow restaurants to take reservations, online orders, and handle in-house ordering all on one app. I also look forward to seeing continued enhancement of software for “to go” orders. Additionally, as many restaurants are now marketing to their local neighborhood instead of tourist traffic and travelers, we are going to see some independence from platforms like TripAdvisor and Yelp; instead, efforts will be to use social media more and websites like Nextdoor that are hyper-local. We may see less of the technology component in advertising and marketing and a movement to use direct mail.
What’s the future of restaurants?
KR: In the future, dining in restaurants is going to continue to look different, and restaurants that are positioning themselves for the long-term through the COVID pandemic are going to do just fine. It’s important for restaurant owners and operators to keep in mind that dining as we once knew it, probably won’t be back for a long-time. The good news is that restaurants that continue to pivot will make it. I have many restaurant clients right now that have returned to 90% of the revenue that they were making pre-pandemic on a modified version of service, so survival is possible, but requires business owners to make smart decisions.